by Layna Segall de Velez, Feature Writer
Try as I may, I cannot pinpoint my favorite “neck of the woods” in Mexico. I have traveled throughout eleven states, to many pueblos, colonial cities and, of course, the astonishing beaches. I have melted at the remarkable beauty of the turquoise Caribbean waters, toured the Sea of Cortes in Baja, jumped waves in the Pacific and frolicked in the blue-green Gulf of Mexico. All of these regions of Mexico are unique and enchanting.
My husband and I are seriously flirting with the notion of living in Mexico, once this Asian stint we are on is over. Our dilemma, we can’t pin down the one location to put down roots. That isn’t necessarily a bad problem to have, and I know we will live it up while searching for that perfect spot to finally call “nuestra casa.”
For the exorbitant amount we shell out in rent each month in Singapore, we could live in a massive villa with the help included. Our needs are not so extravagant, and we know, from experience, living comfortably in Mexico is an easily attainable reality, where as living in Asia, it is beyond our means.
The tourists that think Mexico is just sun, sand and beach are missing plenty from this amazing country. I hate to admit it, but I was one of them until I married R2. My love affair with Mexico began for me when I was still a teenager. Like many foreigners, I would fly to a beach, hang out for a couple of weeks and return to Canada with a glorious tan, a wicked tequila hangover and an immediate need for a liver transplant upon return.
I was extraordinarily lucky that R2 saved me from this total misapprehension of his country, by introducing me to grutas (grottos), volcanoes, canyons, pueblos and pyramids, some of which are among the designated thirty plus “UNESCO Heritage” sites in the country.
When is the last time you saw a tree (El Arbol del Tule) that spans 33 feet in diameter, is over 2,000 years old, and thought to be the oldest tree in the world today? Have you taken the time to meander through Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa? These grottos are famous for their incomparable beauty and have fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations that go on for miles making it one of the largest cave networks in the world.
But, even better than the tour sites, are the people of Mexico. Of the 22 countries in which I have traveled, I have never found a people of any other culture that can match the friendliness, courtesy and kind consideration that I have found in this country. While initially, the people are shy of us, they warm up quickly once they realize how much we love to be in their country. R2 is frequently not recognized as a Mexican, perhaps because he has traveled the world so much and hasn’t lived there for almost two decades. But, when people realize he is “one of them,” they ask where he is from and want to know all about him, as if they are welcoming the “prodigal” son home.
We will continue to research our home-away-from-home from the island known as “The Little Red Dot”, And, while we have beaches, tropical palms and endless summers, there are many things about Singapore that are NOT Mexico. So, when I go to the beach here, I long for the perfect playas and the clear Caribbean ocean in Tulum. When I see the Buddhist shrines and temples, I miss the churches of Puebla. When I stop for some roadside food at a hawker station in Singy, I yearn for a taco stand that serves up hot and spicy fish tacos on the way to Cuernavaca.
Until we return, we will continue to fly our Canadian and Mexican banderas (flags) from our penthouse balcony, so we can show our pride in our missing homelands.
Read more about Layna’s world travels at http://laynainasia.blogspot.com